I am sorry.
For much of my young womanhood, I may have been a bit casual and…okay, I admit it...thoughtless, regarding your feelings. You were men, after all. Big strong men. Who should have known that just because a girl flirted with you, or went out with you a time or two, or...maybe even dated you for a while, didn’t mean she was really that into you. So you didn’t need to take it so hard. I mean, a girl has a right to change her mind, right? Isn’t there a reason for the phrase “Man up”?
Women always say that they want a man who can express his feelings, but really? I think we want a man who understands OUR feelings. Not one who wallows in his own. If a man has something go wrong – loses a job, fails at sports, loses the girl – he should be strong. Get over it. Isn’t that right?
But now…I have a boy. A little boy. Who is ridiculously strong and stoic. Who internalizes everything. Who refuses to show weakness in public. Who NEVER lets anyone but me see him cry. Who has deep, deep feelings, but seldom shares them.
They’ve been playing basketball during P.E. at his school. And he’s not very good at basketball. Actually, he would be good if he worked at it, as he’s a good athlete, but he never started playing when he was little, and now is behind all the other boys in his class. So he tells everyone he hates basketball. I’ve suggested that we set up a hoop in the backyard, where he can practice on his own, out of sight of the other, more accomplished boys. But he says he doesn’t want to. Basketball is stupid. Basketball is boring.
And the other day, he came home after school on the verge of tears. It was P.E. day. When I asked him why he was in such a sad mood, he admitted that not only was he the last boy picked for the basketball teams, but when he played, not one boy passed the ball to him. Not once.
I am sick. Absolutely heartbroken for him. I know that this is all some kind of character-building lesson. But seeing him so hurt makes me absolutely weak with sadness. And anger. I want to go smack those other little boys who wouldn't pass the ball to him. Which is, of course, ridiculous, because I happen to know that they’re all really nice little boys, and that it’s my son who has told them over and over that he doesn’t want to play basketball because he hates it. But I don’t think he does really hate it, he just hates being bad at it. Sigh.
I want to call the moms of the other boys and ask them to ask their sons to please pass the ball to my son. But I won't do that, because I know that it's his battle to fight. Sigh.
I want to give that coach a talking to, and tell him to stop having them play basketball every week, and maybe do running, or something else my boy is good at. But I won't do that either. Because he needs to get through this himself. To feel sad about it, and work through it, and then come to feel better about himself. Sigh.
So I am here, apologizing to you men out there. Because I realize now that all of you were once little boys with big feelings, and a great capacity for suffering and hurt. And if any women out there, like...uh, me...ever disregarded your feelings, or dumped you callously because she was bored with you or whatever...I am truly sorry.
And to all you girls out there who will some day break my little boys heart? I can tell you this - I. Will. Take. You. Down. I mean it. You break my boys heart, I will break you.
So go ahead, men. Feel your feelings. Cry if you need to. I will never again judge you. I will try to remember the sweet little boys you once were.
Sincerely and apologetically,
This post was inspired by...
Prompt #2 - Dear Men, (an open letter…offer a word of advice, an issue you’d like to address, or a solution to a problem for the opposite sex).